Linggo, Marso 10, 2013


Thank you for visiting my site! We have moved to a bigger and better address. :)  

All my blog entries, articles, pictures and videos are now in this new site: 

See you there! 

Huwebes, Setyembre 20, 2012

Smart Parenting Advice this September

Got a nice surprise this week when I opened the September issue of Smart Parenting Magazine and read my advice to new moms on page 46. Mishca's name is there, too--her first in a magazine. 

This is long version of the advice that I offered: 

"I was scared to carry my newborn. I also didn't get a yaya. One of the things that really helped me is the SaYa Carrier which was created by my college batchmate Buding Aquino-Dee. It's a cloth-type carrier that is super flexible. You can wear your baby in many ways. Plus, it's not bulky like some of the carriers available in the market. Baby is kiss-height so you can cuddle him/her anytime, snug-fit so you don't worry about the baby falling to the ground. It helped me carry her out of the hospital and into the car. And then helped me move around with her without fear. As she grew heavier, I appreciated that it supported my back so I could carry her wtihout strain. She's 13 months now and is still very happy to be in it. Yesterday we were at the mall and she was breastfeeding in it as we strolled (Yes, it also serves as a breastfeeding cover). She fell asleep in it afterwards" 

Thanks to my former editor and friend Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua for the feature.  It's been 14 years since my first article came out in Summit Media's Good Housekeeping Magazine but I still get a thrill seeing my name in print. :)   Thanks, Jac! 

Incidentally, we have opened a new online store called Kid StarMaker. We are offering personalized books, music and cartoons for kids. We are really excited about this because we have seen first hand how these products brings joy to children.Hope you can check it out at

Click here for my review of the SaYa carrier! Thanks!

Huwebes, Setyembre 13, 2012

Warning: Cell Phones May Trigger ADHD and Other Behavior Problems By Dr. Mercola

Call me a panicky mom but one of the things I did after I learned that I was pregnant was to turn off my cellphone and toss it in the cabinet. Yes, I did lose contact with "the world" but I felt my unborn child deserved the best care and I didn't want to take chances.  

When I was born there were no cellphones or wifi. Now my daughter is inundated by radio signals everywhere she goes. In fact, she was born in a hospital with wifi.

Now that she is a year old, I'm glad I left my cellphone in the closet.  Last July,  I read this alarming study that confirmed the dangers of cellphone and wireless devices. 

Here is an excerpt from

Studies Involving Human Children Show Increased Behavioral Problems With In Utero Cell Phone Exposure

In 2008, researchers analyzed data from nearly 13,000 children and found that exposure to cell phones while in the womb, and also as children, was linked to more behavioral difficulties.iii Pregnant women using handsets just two or three times a day was enough to raise the risk of their babies developing hyperactivity and difficulties with conduct, emotions and relationships by the time they reached school age -- and the risk became even greater if the children also used the phones themselves before age 7.
The 2008 study revealed that mothers who used mobile phones were 54 percent more likely to have children with behavioral problems. When the children also later used the phones themselves by age 7, they were:
  • 80 percent more likely to suffer from difficulties with behavior
  • 25 percent more at risk from emotional problems
  • 34 percent more likely to suffer from difficulties relating to their peers
  • 35 percent more likely to be hyperactive
  • 49 percent more prone to problems with conduct
Then, in 2010, the researchers looked at a larger group of children -- nearly 29,000 -- and also considered additional variables that could be swaying the results, and the association was found once again.iv In that study, children whose mothers used cell phones while pregnant were 40 percent more likely to have behavioral problems and this rose to 50 percent when the children also used cell phones themselves. The researchers even accounted for family history of behavioral problems, inattention of the mother, breastfeeding and time spent with the child -- and the association still remained.

Top Steps for Safer Cell Phone Use

You can help to minimize your exposure to electromagnetic radiation from cell phones and other wireless devices by heeding the following advice:
  • Children Should Always Avoid Using Cell Phones: Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children's brains are far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults, because of their thinner skull bones.
  • Reduce Your Cell Phone Use: Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters. As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call. If you're pregnant, avoiding or reducing your cell phone use is especially important.
  • Use a Land Line at Home and at Work: Although more and more people are switching to using cell phones as their exclusive phone contact, it is a dangerous trend and you can choose to opt out of the madness. SKYPE offers a portable number via your computer that can plug into any Ethernet port while traveling.
  • Reduce or Eliminate Your Use of Other Wireless Devices: You would be wise to cut down your use of these devices. Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to use them as often as you do. And most importantly, do not even consider having any electronic or wireless devices in the bedroom, as the electric, magnetic and microwave fields can significantly interfere with the quality of your sleep.
  • If you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are not safer during calls, but at least many of them do not broadcast constantly even when no call is being made. There is a new Siemens Eco DECT phone on the market, where if only one handset is activated, it can be set to only radiate during a call as opposed to 24/7. However, since many people have multiple portable phone handsets this is not, as of yet, a practical solution. And, unless one knows to deactivate the radiation through putting the phone into Eco Mode Plus mode, it will still be continually emitting microwaves.
    Note the only way to truly be sure if there is an exposure from your cordless phone is to measure with an electrosmog meter, and it must be one that goes up to the frequency of your portable phone (so old meters won't help much). As many portable phones are 5.8 Gigahertz, we recommend you look for RF meters that go up to 8 Gigahertz, the highest range now available in a meter suitable for consumers.
    Alternatively you can be very careful with the base station placement as that causes the bulk of the problem since it transmits signals 24/7, even when you aren't talking. So if you can keep the base station at least three rooms away from where you spend most of your time, and especially your bedroom, they may not be as damaging to your health. Another option is to just simply turn the portable phone off, only using it when you specifically need the convenience of moving about while on a call.
    Ideally it would be helpful to turn off your base station every night before you go to bed. You can find RF meters as well as remediation supplies at But you can pretty much be sure your portable phone is a problem if the technology is DECT, or digitally enhanced cordless technology, unless you are using the new Siemens Eco DECT phone, with only one handset active, and the phone set to only radiate during conversations through the Eco Mode Plus feature.
  • Use Your Cell Phone Only Where Reception is Good: The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception.
  • Also Seek to Avoid Carrying Your Phone on Your Body as that merely maximizes any potential exposure. Ideally put it in your purse or carrying bag. Placing a cell phone in a shirt pocket over the heart is asking for trouble, as is placing it in a man's pocket if he seeks to preserve his fertility and sexual function.
  • Don't Assume One Cell Phone is Safer Than Another: There's no such thing as a "safe" cell phone.
  • Keep Your Cell Phone Away From Your Body When it is On: The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that area. Most people are surprised that cell phone manuals themselves specifically state to not place the phone against your body!
  • Respect Others Who are More Sensitive: Some people who have become sensitive can feel the effects of others' cell phones in the same room, even when it is on but not being used. If you are in a meeting, on public transportation, in a courtroom or other public places, such as a doctor's office, keep your cell phone turned off out of consideration for the 'second hand radiation' effects. This would especially apply to places where reflections would be high, such as in a metal elevator, train car or automobile. Children are also more vulnerable, so please avoid using your cell phone near children.
  • If you are using the Pong case, which redirects the cell phone radiation away from the head and successfully lowers the SAR effect, realize that in redirecting the radiation away from your head this may be intensifying the radiation in another direction, perhaps toward the person next to you, or, if in your pocket, increasing radiation intensity toward your body. Caution is always advised in dealing with any radiation-emitting device. We recommend cell phones be kept 'Off' except for emergencies.
  • Use Safer Headset Technology: Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded -- and most of them are not -- the wire itself acts as an antenna attracting ambient radio waves and transmitting radiation directly to your brain.
  • Make sure that the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded. The best kind of headset to use is a combination shielded wire and air-tube headset. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the information to your head as an actual sound wave; although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.

To read the full article, pls. click here

Martes, Hulyo 10, 2012

Childbirth Preparation Class

Question: Where do you bring your wife when it's time to give birth? If your answer is the hospital's EMERGENCY ROOM, then you need this!

Childbirth class=fun, fun, fun! That's how it was for us. It was a no-brainer to attend one since this is our first child and we want to be fully prepared for what lies ahead. We wanted know as much as we can about pregnancy, childbirth and infant care.

Learning Relaxation Techniques at  Childbirth Preparation Class Along w/ 
Other Expectant Couples

On my fifth month, I asked our OB GYNE  if she could recommend one to us. She gave us a pink flyer for Childbirth Preparation class. We were also told that Michael has to finish this course for him to be able to enter both the  labor and delivery rooms. He needed to get certification as my Lamaze coach.

The 6-week class was headed by Rome Kanapi who is practically an institution in her field. Rome made the classes lively, informative and relationship-enhancing. What's more: her classes are filled with games, freebies and prizes from major maternity and childcare brands. Michael and I won a  complete dental kit for baby and organic laundry detergent, aside from getting copies and copies of the latest childcare magazines.

How much the classes cost:   P4,500/ couple for a 6-week course 

What we  learned: 
*Proper nutrition for pregnant moms
*Relaxation techniques and exercises to ease pregnancy and labor aches and pain
*What to do, what to bring, how to prepare you and your spouse for labor and childbirth
*The different cases that lead to Caesarian birth 
*Complications in pregnancy and childbirth and how to avoid them
*The stages of childbirth and what to do and expect 
*Breathing and pushing techniques
*How to prepare the all-important Birth Plan
*How to care for a newborn 

                                       Being taught how to change a nappy by Rome Kanapi

 I'll be forever grateful to Rome for teaching--
  • How to control my weight and curb pregnancy cravings. During my second trimester, I was warned by my OB Gyne that I was eating too much and was thus gaining too much weight. Rome taught me that I need to eat just 2 slices of wheat bread per meal and no more than 1 piece of banana and a slice of ripe mango per day. My first reaction was--WUHATT? I obviously was downing more than that!  But I listened to her advice and as a result had normal glucose levels throughout the pregnancy.
  • How to prepare a Birth Plan,  This made the whole birthing experience so much better because we were taught how to communicate our needs and wants to the doctor and hospital staff. I made a few copies of the birth plan and gave it to the attending physicians and nurses and it saved us from having to repeat ourselves over and over as to the details of the pregnancy and our medical  requests.
  • How to have a better chance for a normal delivery the second time around. Rome taught the class that in case we moms need to undergo an emergency c-section, we should ask our doctors to do a transverse incision (horizontal cut) to increase the possibility of having a normal birth for our succeeding kids. A transverse cut is said to result to lesser complications. It is also safer for women with this kind of incision to give birth naturally  because there is a lesser chance of uterine rupture during labor.  We were able  communicate this  to my OB GYNE weeks before labor.  She was not too agreeable to it because it takes time to do this. She said it might not work during an emergency, but when it was time, she was able to heed our wishes. For  someone who is hoping and praying for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarian), the message from Rome was heaven-sent. 

Rome also solidified my resolve to breastfeed. She offered practical tips like what type of breast pump to get, when to get it or if it would be better to just borrow from a friend.  There were tips about milk storage, how to breastfeed for the first time and the proper nursing attire to wear to make breastfeeding less complicated. I really appreciated the information because I was the first child in my family to become pregnant and breastfeeding is an alien concept to us.

Michael and I  looked forward to every class. It made the pregnancy more memorable.  And when it was time to go to the delivery room, we were ready.  For us, the class by Rome is simply priceless!

For more information about Rome's childbirth preparation classes, visit:

Sabado, Hunyo 30, 2012

I Love My SaYa!

I received an FB message from Jac Lutanco-Chua, one of my favorite editors from Summit Publishing. She is writing a Smart Parenting article entitled "How to be Happy New Parents." She wrote: "What tricks/tactics did you employ to make the various challenges that you faced—i.e breastfeeding, getting baby to sleep, finding time for yourself, looking for the right yaya, etc.—easier to deal with?"
 There are just so many things to share, but top of mind, this is what I came up with:  
As a first-time mom, I was scared to carry my newborn. I also didn't get a yaya. One of the things that really helped me is the SaYa Carrier which was invented by my college batchmate Buding Aquino-Dee. It's a cloth-type carrier that is super flexible. You can wear your baby in many ways. Plus, it's not bulky like some of the carriers available in the market. Baby is kiss-height so you can cuddle him/her anytime, snug-fit so you don't worry about the baby falling to the ground. It helped me carry her out of the hospital and into the car. And then helped me move around with her without fear. As she grew heavier, I appreciated that it supported my back so I could carry her wtihout strain. She's 13 months now and is still very happy to be in it. Yesterday we were at the mall and she was breastfeeding in it as we strolled (Yes, it also serves as a breastfeeding cover). She fell asleep in it afterwards. 

Mishca enjoying being in her SaYa at 7 months!
My mom was both amazed and amused! She saw how her grandchild happily fed as she were walking in SM. And we did so discreetly without anyone  noticing. 
I really love my SaYa. I think it's one of the best things I ever bought for myself and my baby. It gave me a sense of freedom in that I had more confidence in bringing my baby every where. Since I can carry her basically hands-free, it gave me the opportunity to do other things as I am taking care of my

 I wish I can give this as a gift to every new mom! Even to every daddy and nanny!  In fact, my husband and I bought a second pair of SaYa for him to wear.

Mishca, her SaYa and I have gone a lot of places: to the malls, to church, to the market,  to the beach, to airports and airplanes, to almost every where it isn't illegal to bring a baby. Wherever we go, we get a lot of approving stares and smiles. I also get asked a lot by moms where they can buy it. I sometimes think I should become a SaYa distributor.

Some people frown at using baby carriers because they say it can make the baby bow-legged. I checked this with my pediatrician when during Mishca's early months. She told me it isn't true. Also since SaYa is made of soft cloth, unlike those bulky imported carriers, it won't constrict the baby's legs or hamper development.

To help you decide if the SaYa is right for you and your baby, do read the blogs of these wise moms:

Biyernes, Pebrero 3, 2012

How The State of Your Pregnancy Affects Baby's Future Health

"Pinaglihi 'ata yan sa sama ng loob (His mother must have always been in a foul mood when she was pregnant), " we always hear people say of someone with a sour disposition. Don't dismiss that joke just yet. Scientists are now discovering that a baby's 9-months in the womb has a direct bearing on his mental and physical health come adulthood.

I was 2-months pregnant when my mom and I saw this Time Magazine issue about the science of fetal origins. I'm glad I read this when Mishca was still in my womb. Let this article by Anne Murphy Paul (dated October 4, 2010) inspire you to take better care of yourself and your baby even before your date with the stork. :) 

Here's an excerpt: 

Cancer. Heart disease. Obesity. Depression. Scientists can now trace adult health to the nine months before birth by ANNE MURPHY PAUL

What makes us the way we are? Why are some people predisposed to be anxious, overweight or asthmatic? How is it that some of us are prone to heart attacks, diabetes or high blood pressure?There's a list of conventional answers to these questions. We are the way we are because it's in our genes: the DNA we inherited at conception. We turn out the way we do because of our childhood experiences: how we were treated and what we took in, especially during those crucial first three years. Or our health and well-being stem from the lifestyle choices we make as adults: what kind of diet we consume, how much exercise we get.

But there's another powerful source of influence you may not have considered: your life as a fetus. The kind and quantity of nutrition you received in the womb; the pollutants, drugs and infections you were exposed to during gestation; your mother's health, stress level and state of mind while she was pregnant with you — all these factors shaped you as a baby and a child and continue to affect you to this day.

(Click the link above to read the full article)

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Martes, Enero 31, 2012

Pregnancy Workout, Anyone?

I worked out from the day I discovered I was pregnant up to the time I was in labor. It made me feel great and  helped me deal with the common aches and pains associated with pregnancy. With my OB GYNE's permission, I looked for a prenatal work-out that was safe and effective.  As I didn't have the time to go to the gym and prenatal classes are hard to find, I knew my best bet would be a workout video. I made my search in the DVD shops around the Metro but couldn't find one.

My husband suggested YouTube. Brilliant idea! It was through YouTube that I got acquainted with  Doctor Cathy,   a chiropractor and fitness professional who designed her own prenatal  work-out. A beautiful mom of two toddlers, she videotaped herself working out while pregnant with her youngest. To make things easier for moms-to-be, her videos are segmented into manageable 5-10 minutes sessions.  There's warm-up, cardio, stretching, strength training and various exercises targeting different areas of the body.

Doctor Cathy's Relaxing Full Body Stretch:
This is the video that helped removed my back pain.

I noticed that I had the hardest time doing the exercises during the first trimester. My body was still adjusting to the baby and there were days I found myself huffing and puffing and getting dizzy whilst warming up. As I knew it was a delicate time, I gave myself permission to stop and rest until my body was ready. Ironically felt strongest during the last trimester, even if I had gained 36 lbs.  I did almost all of the exercises every day until it was time for the baby to come out.  I was amazed that I could do the modified push-ups and tricep dips even with a bulging tummy.  I was motivated to have an easy delivery. I also read that mommies who exercised during pregnancy had babies with higher IQ. 

Did the exercises make me have an easy delivery?    Well, I still had to go through 24 hours of labor that led to a C-section, even when I did squats and walked around the hospital  while laboring. The doctor said  I had labor arrest due to fetal position. Still, working out helped me bounce back faster from the surgery. Both my OB GYNE and pediatrician were amazed that I was able to sit up and move  the day after surgery. So thanks, Dr. Cathy! 

You can check out Doctor Cathy website at She is now offering more extensive prenatal exercise classes for a fee through her website, but a lot of her work-out videos are still free. And there's also a program prepared for postpartum moms, which I am currently trying out.  As a precaution, make sure you consult your OB GYNE before doing any of the routines.  I led an active lifestyle and I didn't have any pregnancy complications that's why my OB GYNE gave me the go signal to exercise until the last trimester. 

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